upcoming events

in the next two weeks:

see all upcoming events


Do you have old cell phones or used ink cartridges and want to recycle them? Contact Liz Fossett.

dems poll

Unfortunately our poll cannot be displayed on this page.

georgetown dems blog

read the rest of the blog


Are you a Georgetown Dems alum? We'd love to hear what you're doing now!

subscribe to our mailing list

mailing list archive


Some of you may know my anal-retentive attention to political detail (ask me about the difference between "Democrat" and "Democratic" sometime...). Even though it's a bad idea to get caught up on the little things, they do count. How we say something is just as important as when and if we say it in the first place. Liberal or progressive, environmentalist or conservationist, death tax or estate tax; the words all mean the same thing on the surface, but each version carries its own implications for each type of audience. Since Republicans figured this out a long time ago--read anything by Frank Luntz and see the painstaking attention to linguistic detail--it really warms my heart when Democrats pay attention to the little things, too. And I don't just mean relatively obvious stuff, like calling yourself a progressive in Nebraska instead of a liberal.

One little detail is George Allen's middle name. These days, Allen's strategy (for 2006 and, more importantly, 2008) is to sell himself as a folksy Bush-Reagan cowboy hybrid. It's a good, proven strategy; nobody really challenged the populist cowboy-ness of either Bush 43 or Reagan. Fortunately, though, Webb's campaign pays attention to the details. Take a look at Jim Webb's press release page. Due to a stroke of bad luck at birth, George Allen's middle name happens to be "Felix"-- which doesn't exactly sound like a salt-of-the-earth rancher down in Texas. And to add insult to injury, GFA happens to be a Junior. Put it all together and George Felix Allen, Jr., is about as un-cowboy as it gets. You'd expect a guy like that to be an obnoxious kid in some snobby east coast private school who walks around with salmon polo shirts and popped collars.

Webb's press people realize this. Every press release I've seen from Webb's campaign refers to Allen's name in all its splendor. Yeah, it sounds retarded when you read "George Felix Allen, Jr." five times in a row, but that's kind of the point. After all, who can fault them for using his real name?

Of course, saying Felix doesn't win the election. It might not even get Webb one vote, but it's an integral part of building a narrative. I doubt anybody chose to cast their vote for Bush because they saw a picture of John Kerry windsurfing, but the windsurfing signified a lot more than Kerry's love for sport. Bush's campaign made the campaign narrative about "the flip-flopper" versus "steady leadership in times of change", and every time people saw Kerry go from side to side in the wind, it just played into the larger narrative. George Felix Allen, Jr. may not win votes, but a narrative of snobby, elitist George Felix Allen, Jr. just might. And nothing says "snobby" and "elitist" better than a guy with the middle name Felix.


There are so many Republicans in Congress, it seems daunting to challenge them all. But in order to take back Congress, not just for two years and not just with a slim majority, we must challenge as many Republicans as possible. We are fortunate this year to have 425 congressional districts with a Democratic candidate, more than at any period in American history.

In my home district in Northern New Jersey, Scott Garrett is by far one of the most ultra-right-wing members of Congress and ranked by nearly every independent analyst the most conservative member of Congress in the Northeast. That's why today, I have started my own blog, Retire Garrett, which is dedicated to defeating Scott Garrett for reelection and electing Paul Aronsohn, our Democratic candidate, to Congress. I hope all of you, especially those from New Jersey, will check out my new blog, and will comment and tell everyone you know from the New York Metro Area to read my blog.

We must challenge Republicans everywhere.


So tonight I open up Firefox, and up pops a little red exclamation point. Pay attention to me!, it says. Something else nasty's going to happen with your weather!

However much I know that ignorance is bliss, I can't stop myself from clicking.

National Weather Service County - DCC001


"Where's the religious right claiming that this is God sending President Bush a message?" quoth a friend.

Well, I'm not sure, but He sure is hating on our fine capital city for some reason....


Okay, so this isn't really a legitimate posting about a pressing political issue... but it's funny, so I'm going to justify this post using the "it was just too good to ignore" grounds.

Apparently, The Hill reports, because Joe Biden wasn't already kind of freaky enough, he for some reason felt the need to declare to a roomful of supporters (who were presumably as disturbed by this thought as me) that he could live without the presidency. "I'd rather be at home making love to my wife while my children are asleep."

Sen. Biden's spokesman, following up on the inquiries of confused reporters and perturbed political wonks everywhere, clarified that Biden was just trying to explain that the presidency was "not an egotistical pursuit for him" and that he is "frankly totally in love with his wife."

My view: thanks for the explanation, dude, but come back to me when you can go back in time and keep the image of Biden in flagrante delecto out of my head.

I know what you're all thinking-- "Gee, Rach, thanks. Now I have to think about this all day, too." To that I say: If I have to suffer, I'm taking all of you down with me.


As a lifelong New Jersey Democrat, I'm proud of my party and my state. I think New Jersey Democrats have done a pretty good job, funding stem cell research, placing a moratorium on the death penalty, creating domestic partnerships for gay couples, improving education, creating stricter laws for the environment, investing in renewable energy, expanding health care for New Jerseyans, and a host of other measures.

It is no wonder that New Jerseyans agree with us on the issues, whether it is on health care, education, the environment, energy policy, a woman's right to choose, gun control, the death penalty, stem cell research, gay rights, the minimum wage, and a host of other issues. New Jerseyans are socially liberal, believe that activist government can do good, and that we must look out for everyone in our state.

But we have been in power now for five years with control of the legislature and the governor's office. And while we have done amazing things, New Jersey Democrats are in danger of losing a key constituency.

Democrats in New Jersey consistently win because of a coalition of urban minorities, socially liberal suburbanites, strong public sector unions, and strong religious and ethnic groups like Jews, Italians, Irishmen, Poles, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. But the biggest of those groups, the socially liberal suburbanites, are about to turn away from us.

Socially liberal suburbanites make up close to a third of New Jersey's population, mostly women. They are pro-choice, pro-gun control, anti-death penalty, pro-education, pro-environment, and pro-stem cell research. They have voted with Democrats because the idea of conservative Republicans taking away those rights seem anathema to them. But if socially liberal Republicans like Tom Kean, Jr. are able to convince them that he will support them on those issues, but also cut their taxes, get rid of government waste, and reform our system of corrupt, unethical government, Republicans may win.

But Democrats can prevent this. We must coopt the Republicans on these issues. If we streamline government, eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, make government efficient, institute stronger ethics, stop handing out political favors, and seriously cut taxes for most of New Jersey, we will endure a permanent majority in New Jersey for generations. If we don't, we will go into permanent minority status, only winning when the Republicans decide to go too far to the right on social issues on occasion and screw up entirely when governing.

This won't be easy, but if we're strong, New Jersey Democrats will dominate and demonstrate to the rest of the nation that liberal Democrats can win if we demonstrate that taxpayers can trust us with their money and that voters can trust us with political power.


You know what I think is disgraceful?

The wanton sacrifice of our nation’s most treasured rights—those to free speech, press, petition, religion—by an administration driven by a megalomaniacal desire to hide or eliminate all evidence of their mistakes.

You know what George Bush thinks is disgraceful?

Reporters who do their jobs and investigate actions taken by the government. Reporters who dare ask questions about the limits of executive power. Reporters who have the courage to imply the administration may have erred in the past. And reporters who work daily to ensure such mistakes won’t be repeated in the future.

Basically, he finds reporters disgraceful. (If I were petty, I’d say that reporters represent accountability and freedom. And that a hatred for the press just reveals a deep-buried hatred of freedom. But I’m not petty.)

In a press conference televised this morning from the White House, a reporter questioned the President about the newly revealed program that secretly monitors the financial transactions of suspected terrorists. The question was not posed in an inflammatory manner—the reporter asked for details about the program and about legislative oversight of it.

In response, President Bush went on a bitterly worded diatribe in which he condemned the member of his administration who revealed the existence of the program, criticized the press for reporting the information, defended the program without revealing anything about it, and essentially refused to offer anything that approached an answer to the question.

“For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America,” the President said with emphatic gestures. Disclosure of the program “makes it harder to win the war on terror,” he continued.

The program the President defended so ardently was begun shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and was disclosed last week by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. You can read the original report here at the New York Times. According to CNN.com, the program uses “broad government subpoenas… and allows U.S. counterterrorism analysts to obtain financial information from a vast database maintained by a company based in Belgium. It routes about 11 million financial transactions daily among 7,800 banks and other financial institutions in 200 countries.”

Let’s set aside, for the moment, the idea that once again our government is spying with questionable legal authority. Instead let’s concentrate on the fact that once again, the Bush administration is less worried about doing something potentially illegal than they are about people finding out about it.

Our country is based on the principle that we elect our leaders based on substance—the substance of their campaigns, the substance of their administrations, what they plan to do, and what they do. And after observing the things they have done for us, we get to judge for ourselves the merits of their actions. We get to decide whether the things they have done have improved our lives or made them more difficult. Then we vote again, to voice our approval or condemnation.

We can’t do our job if the press can’t do theirs. The press—the fourth branch of the US government—is an essential part of the system that must not be silenced. This administration has tried time and again, through methods direct and indirect to do just that. By offering only carefully rehearsed press conferences, and showing an obvious contempt for their services, the administration has marginalized a noble profession.

Sure, it’s weird that I’m defending those members of our society who are often driven more by the dream of a Pulitzer than by one of defending freedom, but they need defending. Reporters, journalists, correspondents, and commentators are the newest target of the Bush administration, but they can’t well tell us that.

It’s our turn to point our fingers.


The first debates for the New Jersey and Montana Senate races were broadcast yesterday. You can see the NJ debate here and the Montana debate will probably be up on C-SPAN in the next few hours. There will be another New Jersey debate tonight at 8 pm if you guys want to see Senator Menendez lay a smackdown on Tom Kean, Jr.

Democrats are cruising in Pennsylvania with Bob Casey up 15 points and Ed Rendell up 14 points in their respective races for Senate and Governor against Rick "man on dog" Santorum and Lynn "overturning Roe v. Wade will make abortion nationally illegal" Swann.

Senate Democrats won't commit to supporting the Democratic nominee in Connecticut even while Republicans say they will support the Republican nominee in Rhode Island (both Senators Chafee and Lieberman face tough primary battles from the right and left, respectively, and may run as Independents if they lose their primaries).

Israel sadly overreacts to a tragic assault on their soldiers, who were killed, wounded, and kidnapped by Gaza militants over the weekend. Israel is preparing to raid Gaza and send troops back in for the first time since their withdrawal last year.

Some gajillionaires have a soul. Warren Buffett is donating 85% of his fortune ($40 billion) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. How exactly do people accumulate that much wealth when tax rates are so burdensome anyway? I guess American socialism as embodied in a graduated income tax and inheritance tax and capital gains taxes don't stimy entrepreneurship after all. Go figure!

The Supreme Court shows its stuff. They took up a case deciding whether carbon dioxide must be regulated by the EPA (maybe they'll understand that globaln warming is real, as is evidenced by the torrential rains that hit the Northeast and DC this weekend). Also, they struck down Vermont's campaign finance law which regulates campaign spending. Also, they uphold Kansas' death penalty in a 5-4 ruling. Who knows how Sandra Day O'Connor would have voted?

An Al-Qaeda terrorist becomes the leader of Somalia, Hamid Karzai is losing power in Afghanistan, and yet we're spending our time in Iraq. Misplaced priorities anyone?

Claire McCaskill is up six points in Missouri against Jim Talent. Looks like another Democratic woman in the Senate.


There's an old trick in politics. When the polity is divided on an issue, demonize the other side and then co-opt their ideas. It works wonders. The Republicans know the game.

Nixon did it in Vietnam. Calling the hippie protesters crazy kids and the like and demonizing the left for trying to make America look weak, Nixon began his program of Vietnamization and withdrew American forces while secretly negotiating peace with the North Vietnamese.

Clinton did it with Republicans on welfare reform. He demonized the Republicans as being harsh and uncompassionate with regard to those in poverty while supporting and signing a welfare reform bill itself and claiming the credit.

Well, President Bush hasn't forgotten the 'Ole Switcharoo.

After last week's fantastic villification of Democrats as the party of "cut and run," no one could have expected that President Bush would be secretly planning to cut and run himself.

On Friday, the Times of London reported that the Iraqi government would announce a 28 point peace plan worked on by our Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Iraqi government, and an array of insurgent groups during secret negotiations over the last few months. Part of the plan involves a "UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq."

Furthermore, our top commander in Iraq, General George Casey, was reported to have briefed officials of his plan to begin a withdrawal of American forces immediately and would withdraw essentially all American troops by the summer of 2009.

What happened to President Bush's argument that setting a deadline would just allow the insurgents and terrorists to wait us out? Or what about the President's argument that we wouldn't leave until Iraqi security forces can defend themselves? Or what about the President's argument that leaving would send a signal to Iraq, our allies, and the world that America makes messes and then doesn't stay to clean them up? Or what about his call that we stay until we've accomplished the mission?

The President has lied to us again. Does anyone else here see a pattern? The President has consistently lied about Iraq and I'm sick of it. We need to hold this President accountable.


The GOP has really gone nuts. It's a little frightening.

Ann Coulter has called for Congressman Murtha's murder (which I'm pretty sure is illegal, to conspire to kill a congressman).

Rick Santorum thinks that we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

These GOoPers are seriously getting on my nerves. When they do stuff like this, we should be screaming from the rooftops about how crazy they are.


I've heard a lot of people over the last few years talk about the need for Democrats to start speaking to Christian conservatives and reaching out to them. What I've heard in response is either a blatant pandering to the right on social issues like gay marriage and abortion form conservative Democrats or Dems without a spine, or Democrats who cynically create rhetoric like John Kerry who now talks about "driving the money changers out of the temple of democracy," when talking about corruption in government, referencing Jesus' call to rid synagogues of money changers.

Democrats do not need to follow either of these paths. Religious voters, whether they be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other faith, tend to hold the same basic moral values about how society is set up, what is right and wrong, and how we should act toward others. The remarkable similarity between the major faiths is even more remarkable when you consider that liberalism is not just compatible with these basic moral principles of faith; in fact, liberalism's entire philosophy stems from core religious moral principles.

1) "Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:31. The golden rule is a very simple concept, one rooted deep in our moral guide as human beings. Liberals believe in the Golden Rule, conservatives don't. Liberalism is founded on the principles of tolerance and mutual respect. Jesus believed wholeheartedly in this principle and conservatives have completely rejected this very important idea, tolerate others, don't discriminate, respect others. The shameful attacks on immigrants, gay marriage, and women who have abortions by conservatives demonstrates that the conservatism is out of step with mainstream religious values.

2) "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?" - Malachi 2:10. We are all created equal in the eyes of God. Religions of all faiths believe in the absolute equality of humanity. Non human being is worth more value than any other. This firm belief in equality is an important value to liberalism and we cherish the idea that "all men are created equal." Conservatism, unfortunately, does not believe we are all equal, and they have made a business out of division, inequality, and entrenched status. Conservative policies further divide people based on class, income, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, and ideology. Christians and liberals are lockstep on this idea of equality.

3) No one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common." - Acts 4:32. All religions believe that community is far more important than ownership. Liberals too believe that we live in a community, that we must share our resources for the betterment of all, that we must regard certain activities as the duties of the commons, not the individual. Our environment is a shared resource. Our health is a shared resource. Our intellectual capital is a shared resource. And therefore, liberals believe in the moral principle of community, leading us to support universal health care, universal, world-class education, and a strong commitment to preserve the environment. Conservatives believe in private ownership and give the finger to the idea of communal life.

4) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3. The commitment to ending poverty, to helping those that are less fortunate, is a religious and moral principle in which liberals deeply believe. Conservatives take the opposite view, rewarding greed and wealth, instead of hard work and struggle.

5) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." - Mattew 5:9. The power of peace and love over war and hate is not a liberal hippie fantasy but a real religious virtue. Using diplomacy, alliances, and global unity to overcome global challenges is both smarter policy and better in keeping with the commitment to peace that God has commanded. Conservatives who deride diplomacy as weak on defense, do so in opposition to the teachings of Jesus.

So, there you have it. Tolerance, equality, community, charity, and peace. Five values which form the core of all religious faiths and the foundation of liberalism. Conservatives believes in bigotry, division, privatization, greed, and hate. These are not deep moral principles and Christian conservatives can find a home in the Democratic party far more appealing that a Republican party that rejects the teachings of Jesus Christ. We need to start talking about our values as Democrats and people will understand that our faith is just as profound as theirs, and a lot more in sync with religious principles.


Or commented on the last blog entry supporting a more mild form of strategic redeployment and arguing that leaving Iraq will lead to an Iraq embroiled in a civil war at best and a terrorist haven theocracy at worst. I am writing a new post because I believe this debate is extremely important for our country and deserves the utmost attention. The problem with the aforementioned argument is that some assume that somehow the presence of our troops is stabilizing Iraq or preventing it from become a terrorist haven. But this begs the question? What role is our military performing in Iraq that is producing results and preventing chaos? The only reason to keep our troops in a country is if they are doing some good. They are not. They have accomplished nothing militarily in the last year. We are not killing, capturing, or deterring more insurgents than we are inspiring. That is the test. The effort by some Democrats to seek a middle ground for the sake of seeking a middle ground is senseless. There must be a reason to continue a troop presence. Until someone tells me what good our troops are accomplishing in Iraq, I am unconvinced for the need to keep more than a few thousand troops dedicated to logistics, operations, planning, training, and counterterrorism, and for the security of our embassy. Our attack that killed al-Zarqawi two weeks ago was launched from the Gulf, not from within Iraq. We can still have success in Iraq by being vigilent both politically, diplomatically, and economically, but there is no military solution to this situation. And if there is no military solution, there is no need to keep our troops there.

I hear the same talking points from Democrats all the time. If we leave, Iraq will "explode." But where is your proof for this? How could you possibly know that from speculating? I sincerely believe that the cost of staying is far greater than any benefit, if there is any. This is not a case study in International Relations theory. These are real people we have put in an open-ended commitment in a country that does not want us there. I'm not saying give up on Iraq; but let's not continue to allow the slaughter of our forces for no logical reason. Yes, I'm calling for strategic redeployment, and that means out now! The Korb-Katulis plan is flawed, but it has the right thrust. The only thing our military can accomplish in Iraq is fighting foreign terrorists like al-Zarqawi, which requires a few thousand Special Forces, military intelligence, and logistics officers. It does not require 130,000 or even 20,000 forces that inspire more terrorism and encourage sectarian violence.

This is about winning in Iraq and protecting our troops. That's why the Murtha strategic redeployment plan I laid out a few days ago is the only solution to this situation. Or, I understand you don't want Iraq to go to hell, but you can't justify the continued presence of our troops just because pulling out seems weak. There has to be a reason to keep our troops there. Give me one and maybe I'll change my mind.


The war in Iraq is not getting any better. Don't let Republicans convince you otherwise. Oil production continues to lag behind prewar levels. Electricity and running water are similarly down to levels before the invasion started. 5000 Iraqis have died since the start of 2006. And today, two American soldiers, aged 23 and 25, were found dead today after signs that they were brutally tortured.
Look at the pictures of these two brave young men at the right. They were 23 and 25 years old. Not much older than most of us. For those Democrats that say that we can't leave Iraq, that it will go to chaos if we leave, why can't those same Democrats realize that young Americans who should be starting careers, getting married, going to college, having kids, and having fun, are instead dying horrible and bloody deaths. For what!? There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. We were lied to by the President of the United States, who has weakend our country, created more terrorists, gotten us bogged down in Iraq and has led to the deaths of two thousand five hundred and four American soldiers, sailors, coastguardsmen, marines, and airmen. This war is senseless, it is endless, our policy is destroying Iraq, our country's image around the world, and our nation's spirit. It is time to support our troops, and bring them home. We need to support Democrats who support strategic redeployment and nothing less.

The Republicans today rejected a resolution to create an independent commission like the kind that Harry Truman led during World War II to root our corruption in military contracting. Republicans are also planning to reject a non-binding Democratic resolution that calls on the President to begin to withdraw some troops by the end of this year. While I won't even criticize the unbelievable timidity of the Democrats, who won't support Sens. Kerry's, Feingold's, and Boxer's amendment to withdraw all combat troops by the middle of 2007 (which itself is too long to wait), the Republicans are truly sickening. The idea that our young men and women should spend one more day in the hell that is Iraq is unbelievable. Our country should only risk the lives of our soldiers if there is a noble goal. Iraq is not a noble war, and it is time to leave. I urge all of you to call your Senators and tell them to support an immediate end to the war. And I, for one, will not support any presidential candidate who does not, by the 2006 elections, come to the conclusion that this war must end immediately. Beware to those Democrats running for President who support this war's continuation!


All of you know how much I love the junior senator from Illinois. Well, the Washington Post wrote a great story today about Barack Obama's absolute coolness (he can even sing well). Check it out. I don't think Barack will run, but I'm hoping he'll change his mind.

Also, if any of you missed Jack Murtha on Meet the Press this morning, check it out too. Murtha is planning to run for majority leader if Democrats take back the House, which I believe they will. I think he'd make a fantastic majority leader: he's exactly what I like in a Democrat, smart, tough, unapologetic, principled, honest, authentic, a straight-shooter, and non-ideological (he's a moderate Dem, I don't just like liberals). If we win back the House, I expect to support Murtha 100% for Majority Leader.


I don't need to tell anyone reading this that 2006 is our chance to reverse six horrible years of Democratic losses. In less than five months, we may once again control the Senate, the House, or both. If not, we'll at least be much closer to a majority and much more able to influence policy for the better. Either way, 2006 will be a good year, and this is our chance to shine.

There are a lot of exciting Senate races this year where Democrats have a terrific chance to pick up seats. To find out which one has our party's activists are really excited about, I conducted a quick, non-scientific Google search on DailyKos in the past 3 months. Montana, with a great candidate in blogosphere-favorite Jon Tester? A search on "Burns" reveals 28,200 hits. What about Pennsylvania? Canine enthusiast "Santorum" gives 26,800 hits. And how about the nail-biting Rhode Island race? "Chafee" shows 9,550 hits. Well, those are the most exciting races; 28,200 isn't bad. Just for kicks and giggles, though, let's look at a little primary campaign in the Northeast. It's a safe Democratic seat, and the winner will be a Democrat no matter what, so there isn't a whole lot to be excited about as far as taking back the Senate. So how many hits does a search on "Lieberman" give?

45,500. Activists are more riled up about a Democratic incumbent in Connecticut than any Republican seat up for the taking in 2006.

Look, I follow Democratic blogs religiously. I know the arguments. Lieberman supported the war and still supports it whole-heartedly. Lieberman appears on Fox News and isn't always kind to other Democratic senators. Lieberman criticizes Bush less than he should. Lieberman is a centrist senator from a reliably progressive state. Lieberman runs absolutely God-awful campaign commercials against his challenger. All of these things are true, and none of them make me like Lieberman a whole lot (though the ad is... entertaining).

But Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. And as hard as it may be to believe, he's a pretty damn devoted Democrat, even if he doesn't toe the party line as much as we'd like him to. Progressive Punch is a website that tallies all the votes of every elected official and determines how progressive they are. Their methodology isn't perfect, but take a look and I think you'll agree that it's close enough. With 100 being the most progressive, Joe scores a 76.46, more than 3o points above the nearest Republican. Yes, he's much closer to the center than we would like him to be, but in the grand scheme of things, he's solid blue.

Besides, Lieberman's Senate career isn't nearly as bad as some make it out to be. Remember the Climate Stewardship Act? Sometimes it helps to have a centrist who can rally some support from the other side. It didn't pass, but that was because of the Republicans-- i.e., the people we should be spending our time and money beating. And what about the 2000 campaign? I might just be nostalgic after watching the incredible An Inconvenient Truth, but Lieberman was a pretty good and well-liked Democrat back then. He was a centrist, but people were okay with that; he was recognized as a good guy.

Lieberman still is a good guy. The war vote didn't change that. Unless you're single-issue voting on Iraq, there are much better things to worry about than Joe Lieberman. Once we take back a majority in the Senate, we can have vigorous primaries. Primaries are healthy and a great forum for intra-party debate. But right now, we have bigger races to worry about. Conrad Burns, Rick Santorum, and Lincoln Chafee, for example.

Besides, as ridiculous as the "Joementum" incident may have been, it just doesn't compare to making fun of Rick Santorum. And he's the real problem here.


Democrats have given up when it comes to supporting a plan for strategic redeployment from Iraq. If I had to guess why, I think it's because they don't think they can sell a complicated plan like strategic redeployment without it sounding like cut-and-run or without people tuning out.

Well I've got a solution. Strategic Redeployment is good, so let's package it in an easy-to-sell and quick-to-say manner.

Every Democratic politician who supports Strategic Redeployment should outline it like this:

"Listen, we need to strategically redeploy from Iraq. Here's the Democratic plan. First, redeploy almost all of our 130,000 troops out of Iraq, while maintaining a small force of Special Forces, intelligence, and logistics to help the Iraqis fight terrorism, and redeploy our forces to the perimeter in the Gulf so that if our interests are threatened, we can come back in to secure them. Second, redeploy all of our National Guard and Reserves back home to fight the war on terror, put them on the borders, in our ports, and have them protect our critical infrastructure and prepare for a terrorist attack. Third, redeploy most of our combat forces and Special Forces to Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other terrorist havens and sanctuaries to fight the war on terror. Fourth, train and equip the Iraqi security forces out of country in the Gulf to keep our guys safe and keep Iraqi forces safe during the training. And fifth, stay heavily involved in Iraq politically, diplomatically, and economically by pouring funds into aid organizations and convening an Iraqi Summit for Peace with all the major parties in Iraq, the major powers in the region, and the major global players so that the whole world has a stake and a say in the success and outcome of Iraq. Look, we've got to do this because our forces are overextended, we need our National Guard and Reserves back at home to protect us in the war on terror, we're neglecting critical areas in the war on terror by diverting resources to Iraq, and our forces are counterproductive in Iraq; we're fueling the insurgency and the sectarian violence, we're radicalizing the Muslim world and recruiting a whole new generation of terrorists, and we're destroying our image and reputation in the world at a critical time when we need to unite the world to fight al-Qaeda. We're losing troops every day to death or serious injury, our budget is being broken, and there is little tangible success. Oil production, electricity, and running water are still below pre-war levels, we haven't defined our mission, and the President has no plan to win the war. The President is losing the war in Iraq and the war on terror. If we pursue the Democratic plan for Strategic Redeployment, we will win both wars."

I know this is not a sound bite, but it's short enough that we can let people know exactly what we think without a long speech. Strategic Redeployment is the best solution to Iraq, and all Democrats should get behind it before we spill more blood of young people our age in Iraq.


It seems there are a whole lot of people peeved at Chuck Schumer these days. As chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he broke with tradition to endorse candidates in the primary, alienating some prominent DNC fundraisers. I’m not sure I agree with that policy, I understand the motivation—Sen. Schumer, like all of us, wants to see a Democratic Senate next year and wants to make sure that nominations go to candidates most likely to win in the general.

But he’s gone a step too far this time. At a Wednesday press briefing, Schumer was asked if he would support Joe Lieberman’s (D-Conn) reelection bid if he ran as an independent, and Schumer pointedly refused rule out supporting the conservative senator in a general election against Ned Lamont and Alan Schlesinger.

I don’t care for Joe Lieberman; I disagree with most of his political views, and in my mind, he’s basically Bush Lite. I don’t see him as much of a Democrat.

But he is an incumbent, and if I were voting in the Connecticut primary, I’d cast my ballot for Lieberman, for the sole reason that I think he’s the candidate most likely to ensure that his Senate seat remains Democratic.

Polling has shown Lamont gaining on Lieberman in the primary, now down only 15%, 55-40, in numbers from last week. My money is on Lieberman (literally—we’ve got a little pool going at the All America office), but Lamont’s gains have been impressive considering Lieberman’s name recognition. Adam informs me that Connecticut law would require Lieberman to declare his intention to run as an independent before the primary if he wants to appear on the ballot, meaning that if Lieberman and his pollsters suspect he has a chance at losing to Lamont, then it would behoove him to run as an independent. Polling on the race is interesting:

If Lieberman runs as the Democratic nominee against Republican challenger Alan Schlesinger, Lieberman takes the race 68-14.
In a two-way race with Lamont winning the Dem primary, he defeats Schlesinger 37-20, but with 34 percent still undecided (meaning the seat is far from a lock, despite the Connecticut's overwhelming blueness).
But in a three way race between Lamont, Schlesinger, and Lieberman running as an independent, Lieberman wins with 56% against both candidates.

Lieberman’s camp says that he has yet to make a decision, but he is reportedly said to be seriously considering a run for reelection as an independent.

But back to Schumer. Now, I understand Schumer’s desire to support a colleague, especially such a prominent one. But the man is chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Anyone in such a prominent position of power has an obligation to endorse the party’s nominee, no matter who it is. While Schumer’s endorsement of Lieberman would hinge on a guarantee to caucus with the Dems and vote for Harry Reid for majority leader, such an endorsement is still unacceptable. If Lamont gets the support of the majority of Connecticut’s Democrats, then he deserves the support of the party as well.

It’s this kind of action that causes disenchantment with the national party. The cogs and machinery of the party cannot operate so separately from the people they claim to represent. I know Sen. Schumer wants to win; so do I. We’ve just made a different calculation about what victory means—the ends don’t always justify the means. Even if Lamont seems likely to lose, if he is the choice of the people, then the DNC and its leadership are bound to support him. That's what democracy is all about, even intraparty elections.

Democrats should call on Schumer to support the party’s nominee, whoever that may be.


I'm sick and tired of Democrats not standing up to Republicans.

I'm sick and tired of caving in to Republican ploys to deceive and manipulate the American people's fears and doubts.

I'm sick and tired of Democrats not standing up to the President and this administration on this senseless and endless war.

I'm sick and tired of Democrats not going on the attack and demonstrating to the American people that Republicans are tearing our country apart.

I'm sick and tired of Democrats not proposing bold, visionary ideas to make our nation better.

I'm sick and tired of Democratic infighting between our party's leaders who are more concerned with their own egos, power trips, and territorial authority that they can't agree on what we need to do to win.

I'm sick and tired of these Washington consultants, pollsters, and handlers that destroy passion, leadership, inspiration, and vision in our politics.

I'm sick and tired of packaged Democrats who filter their words out through focus group and poll tested language.

I'm sick and tired of Democrats who would rather mindlessly follow the polls and the status quo of national opinion than lead the country by arguing and persuading Americans to come over to our point of view.

I'm sick and tired of losing elections, and even more sick and tired of "winning" elections only to get meek and cowardly Democrats who vote with the Republicans and don't propose Democratic ideas.

I'm really, really, really sick and tired.

But I'm hopeful.

Democrats are coming around and I'm seeing more and more Democrats standing up not only because it's the right thing to do, but because it's becoming politically popular.

Democrats, please, please, don't back down, don't cower in fear, stand up and fight, and we'll get your back.

Let's build an America we can truly believe in again.


Recently, I've discussed with a number of people whom I know whether being a liberal or a conservative Democrat matters in getting elected. And I've mentioned that this misses the point. Well, let me elaborate.

I'm an Authentic Democrat (with a capital A). What does that mean, you may ask? First, it means standing up for Democrats, the Democratic party, and Democratic values. There are issues of conscience and there are issues of preference in politics, and when conscience is involved, you have an obligation to speak out, especially if your party is wrong on this issue. But on an issue of preference, where you merely prefer one policy or plan over another, shut up and sit back and don't condemn the rest of your political party for their views.

I am principally talking about Joseph I. Lieberman, Senator of Connecticut. Senator Lieberman, while not the most conservative Democrat in our caucus by far, is the best when it comes to bashing the Democratic party on right-wing noise machines like FAUX News and talk (stupid) radio. When the media looks for a story about Democratic discombobulation on Iraq policy, all they need to do is source Joe Lieberman as example of a wing of the party that supports the President's stay-the-course strategy in Iraq. Except that Joe Lieberman is the only guy in this wing of the party. No other Senate or House Democrat has publicly stated that they agree with the President's strategy on Iraq. Not only have these members not done this because the President's strategy is most certainly failing, but because they do not want to undermine the consistency and unity of the Democratic message. Just as liberal Democrats who want to cut off funding for the war do not talk about it openly in public because they do not want to destroy the Democratic message, conservatives like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who probably agrees with the President, do not chastise other Democrats because they know it would hurt the party.

A lot of the cheap political hacks (they're sometimes called consultants and campaign staffers) in Washington who keep on losing elections say that this "attack" on Joe Lieberman is a "despicable" effort by "leftists" to defeat a "great" Senator. These people somehow believe that the primary process is merely symbolic; being renominated by your party if you're an incumbent Senator is an afterthought, voters should just fall in line. But they're wrong. The Democrats of Connecticut are tired of Joe Lieberman's undermining of the party message and his fantasyworld of Iraq that he's living in. Joe Lieberman is now being challenged by Ned Lamont because people are fed up and Joe Lieberman needs to hear the concerns of his constituents, whom he rarely sees because he spends the vast majority of his time in Washington. And we in the blogosphere don't just support Ned Lamont because we're anti-Lieberman, but because we're pro-Lamont. Ned Lamont will make a great US Senator, and I'm proud to support him.

This brings me to my second point about being an Authentic Democrat. Americans like politicians who stand for something, who have conviction, who argue their position of conscience, who mean what they say and say what they mean, and who tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God. I'm one of those, and I only feel comfortable supporting candidates who are like this too.

Americans have a bullshit meter. They can detect a load of poll and focus group tested language a mile away. When a politician filters their views, an alarm goes off in people's heads. It's no wonder that everyone I talk to thinks that politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths, lie, cheat, steal, don't keep promises, and are corrupt. And no wonder that George W. Bush won.

In 2004, the country thought the US was off on the wrong track, Bush's approval ratings were 50-50, the country agreed with John Kerry's positions on almost every issue, and he still lost. Why? Because when John Kerry spoke, a bullshit meter nearly exploded in every voter's head. We need to stop picking candidates on so-called "electability," especially when there's no clear formula for winning an election in this country, and start supporting the Authentic Democrats in the race.

Montana Democrats did this last week when they picked straight-shooter Jon Tester over DLC hack and lying, scandal-ridden John Morrison. Virginia Democrats did it tonight when they picked veteran, former Navy Secretary, former Republican, truth-teller, and anti-Iraq war candidate Jim Webb over wishy-washy lobbyist, try to be everything to everybody Harris Miller.

And I believe that in Connecticut on August 8th, Democrats will pick the honest and straightforward and authentic Ned Lamont over Lieberman, who equivocates in the worst and most cynical type of way to win favor on the far right.

In the 2008 primaries for our Democratic nominee, vote for Authentic Democrats. If you're a moderate, vote for the candidate you think is honest and best represents your views. If you're a liberal, vote for the candidate who says what's on their mind and who believes in what you believe. And if you're a just like me, and while you proudly love calling yourself a liberal, you have a bunch of views that don't fit nicely in a box, then vote for the person you think will make the best President, because after all, that's what we're voting for in the first place.


Here's an election season joke for you- Q: How many Democrats does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: It's irrelevant, they don't know they're in the dark! [pause for laughter]

Okay, okay, I'm no comedian, so I'll stick to blogging. But in all seriousness, I think there's some truth to the Democrats-are-out-of-touch-with-American-voters argument. A lot of people agree on this premise, but the reasoning behind it is hotly contested. I'm sure y'all have had it up to here with me and Adam and the centrist-liberal schism within the Democratic Party. Yet the rest of you seem to be woefully silent on the issue.

I'd like to bring to your attention an interesting piece by Michael Grunwald from yesterday's Washington Post, entitled "How to Reconnect with Voters and Realize Your Dreams of Victory: A Step-by-Step Guide for Democrats."

Yet despite the strength of its title, Grunwald's article fails to live up to its promise. Instead of offering a comprehensive plan to a gaining a Democratic majority, Grunwald's op-ed is really more a recounting of a debate familiar to most of us—the conflict between those within the party who want it to take a hard left towards views reminiscent of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Karl Marx, and those centrists who want to maintain the middle-of-the-road path that brought the Democrats their only White House victories in the last quarter of a century. (Can you tell whose side I’m on?)

On one side of the party are the liberal activists and bloggers who very nearly propelled Howard Dean to the nomination in 2004 and who were largely responsibly for handing him the chairmanship of the DNC last year, much to the consternation of inside-the-Beltway centrists within the party. This side maintains that Democrats must learn to grow a little backbone, standing up for progressive policies and running liberal Democratic candidates who are anti-war, pro-choice, pro-gun control, and anti-Bush. This half of the party, Grunwald argues, wants Democrats “to be less apologetic, less wishy-washy, more willing to speak truth to power, more . . . liberal.” Until they define themselves as a clear Republican alternative, the left flank argues, the Democrats are destined to remain the minority party.

On the other side are the moderates of the party, who argue that in order to win elections, the Democrats must appeal to the middle-class heartland voters concerned more about national security and taxes than social issues like gay marriage and school prayer. These Democrats want the party to run candidates who are “less elitist, less negative, more respectful of red-state values, more . . . moderate.” These centrists want a party that appeals to the middle class values voters in a country that is essentially right-of-center. Otherwise, the argument goes, Democrats will be doomed to remain the hoity-toity party of the overeducated “we know what’s best for you” urban elite.

Grunwald does not offer an opinion on which of these sides is most likely to result in Democratic gains in November, reflecting a party that is still torn between the two positions. The liberals can point to some impressive victories so far this campaign season—in Montana, grassroots candidate Jon Tester won by a huge margin the right to face off against incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns for a highly poachable seat against establishment pick John Morrison, who outspent Tester by nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the primary.

Another upcoming race to watch will the Virginia Senate primary. Harris Miller, a longtime Democratic activist, and Jim Webb, a recent convert to the party who endorsed Bush and Republican Sen. George Allen in 2000, will compete for the right to oppose Sen. Allen in the general election. The polls point to a primary that is too close to call. This race offers a slight variant on the liberal-centrist model, however—Miller, the candidate with the liberal bona fides and strong grassroots support, is not a Beltway outsider but a Washington lobbyist, and Webb, the choice of many Democratic insiders, is a newcomer to the party, a former Reagan administration official and veteran who wears his son’s combat boots as a symbol of what the administration did wrong in going to war with Iraq. Though Miller offers clearly defined liberal positions on the issues and a long history as a Democrat, Webb has garnered the endorsements of key figures within the party, including 2004 nominee John Kerry and Minority Leader Harry Reid, who have both expressed opinions that Webb offers the best chance for victory against Sen. Allen.

No matter who wins on Tuesday, look for both sides of the intraparty debate to spin the election results like a cheap plastic dreidel on Hanukkah.


The Republicans love to tell us they're protecting America from terrorists. They are liars! And we shouldn't be afraid to call them out on it.

Abu Ghraib, torture, Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, military tribunals, the PATRIOT ACT, illegal wiretapping, invading and occupying Iraq, a failure to engage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seriously, screwing up Afghanistan and Somalia, the Haditha massacre, the overextension of our troops, the declining recruitment and retention rates in our armed forces, North Korea's development of nuclear weapons (emphasis on the plural), Iran's increased efforts to puruse uranium enrichment and making the United States look stupid, the shirking of international agreements like the International Criminal Court, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and more, leaving Sudan and the Darfur genocide to fester, the failure to secure our ports, borders, and mass transit systems, our declining preparedness capacity (as demonstrated by the brilliant response to Hurricane Katrina), and our global addiction to oil from dangerous places.

I could go on and on. This administration has made us less safe, less secure, more endangered, more scared, more terrorized, less free, and less peaceful. This administration has destroyed vital alliances in Europe that could have been used successfully in combating terrorism. These Republicans in Congress, and their 13th century mindset (talk about pre-9/11), have led to a complete lack of congressional oversight and action when it comes to checking the abuses of this administration and guiding America's foreign policy with care. The GOP has been bad news for American national security and the country has woken up.

I could explain why Democrats have a better vision for foreign policy, Iraq, national security, homeland security, and international relations. But I am going to explain what our positions should be on a simple issue, how to fight terrorism and the violent tactics it employs for political ends.

The administration and Republicans like to talk about about how we're fighting "jihadist terrorism," "Islamic extremists," and "Muslim fundamentalists." But our war is bigger than that, and it should be. When Timothy McVeigh took down the federal building in Oklahoma City, he wasn't a pilgrim in the Hajj. When the Irish Republican Army kills Americans out of spite for our alliance with Great Britain, they are not breaking Ramadan each night with the iftaar. Terrorism is a broad concept, one that exists in every society on Earth. Terrorists are not all from one religious denomination, or one racial group, or one nationality; they are a diverse mix of angry, enraged individuals, who have political and social goals that are unrealized, and who have resorted to violent tactics in the hope that it will pursue its ends. We must fight it wherever it lurks.

But how can we do this? I've got a five part strategy for combating and defeating terrorism in the 21st century, and Democrats need to talk about these ideas to every voter in the nation. We can demonstrate to the country that we're better suited to protect them from terrorists. So, as Mario says, "Here we go!"

1) Preparedness - As the federal, state, and local response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, we lack the necessary infrastructure, leadership, resources, coordination, and planning to deal with serious and critical emergencies and crises. The last line of defense against terrorism is after the terrorists have struck, and while we should do everything we can to prevent attacks, they will inevitably occur, once in a while. What we can do is minimize casualties, save lives, and catch the perpetrators as soon as possible. This requires coordination, and we should therefore have a National Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness, a Cabinet-level official, who answers directly to the President, who can manage all the federal, state, and local agencies involved in an emergency response from the White House with full Presidential responsibility. The problem with Hurricane Katrina was that Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Brown, the FEMA director, Frances Townsend, the HLS advisor, and local officials like Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco all tried to run things their own way. The lack of coordination led to a breakdown in response and planning and led to the loss of more than a thousand lives. We need more cops, more emergency medical service personnel, more firemen, more investigative units, more rescure operations teams, and more funds for all of these people. We need to improve training, coordinate plans with the private sector for emergency situations, and distribute personnel and equipment equally so that when terror strikes, we respond quickly.

2) Homeland Defense - The best thing we can do to prevent a terrorist attack, once it's been planned and organized, is to prevent terrorists and weapons from executing the plot. This means improved border enforcement, more resources for immigration and citizenship personnel to find out who's in the country, 100% cargo inspection at our ports, more radiation detectors, increased funds for intelligence, intelligence fusion and reform, more law enforcement personnel, and more surveillance equipment and security personnel assigned to risk areas. This administration has seriously undermined homeland security by giving tax breaks to the rich instead of fully funding homeland security. The 9/11 commission recommended 41 policies to Congress and the Republicans in Congress have failed to enact one of them completely.

3) Fighting Terrorists Abroad - Even before they organize and plan an attack, we need to destroy terrorists, their organizations, and their operations. The war in Iraq have seriously drained our Special Forces from desperately critical regions of the world, notably Afghanistan and Somalia, as noted above, but also in the whole Horn of Africa, Yemen, Southeast Asia, Pakistan, West Africa, and Western European cities. We need to redeploy our troops out of Iraq strategically so we can deploy them and intelligence operations officers in key areas of concern, where they can hunt down, infiltrate, kill, and disrupt terrorists, their organizations, and their operations. The right-wing aversion to multilateral organizations and efforts has also weakened us in this area. We should establish a Global Counterterrorism Organization (GCO) based loosely on the Interpol model, that would combine the intelligence, law enforcement, special operations, analysis, diplomatic, political, economic, and military prowess of powerful, prosperous, and democratic nations around the world to unite in the struggle to destroy terrorist networks. We should rekindle the transatlantic alliance, and use Europe's economic might, newfound spirit of unification, and universal democracy to defeat terrorists all around the world.

4) No More State Sponsors of Terrorism - There are states that are sponsoring, harboring, funding, training, equipping, recruiting, assisting, and promoting terrorist organizations. If only George W. would pick the right countries. While Iran and Syria are played up as state sponsors of terrorism, and they are serious sponsors, states like Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Georgia, and other nations, either because of government collusion or a weak and failed state, have provided major aid to terrorists. We need to send Special Forces to these countries to disrupt terrorist operations. But we also need to assist failed states in promoting good, strong governance, ending corruption, improving economic situations, and training and equipping security forces. For governments that collude with terrorists, we need to take a carrot and stick approach. Nations that fight terrorism and actively work against terrorists will receive economic assistance, military assistance, cultural, political, and diplomatic advantages, and possible trade deals. Nations that continue to aid terrorists would face harsh, targeted, smart economic sanctions, a cut in all political, diplomatic, and cultural ties to the rest of the world, and complete isolation. With a carrot and stick approach, state sponsors and failed states will become active participants in the global war against terrorism.

5) A Message of Hope - We must make sure that terrorism doesn't continue in the future. That means not giving terrorists amunition for recruitment of new terrorists. This requires supporting democracy and freedom (if people have a voice in the halls of power, they will be less likely to pursue violent ends), though this works less well when democracy is forced by the barrel of a gun. It also means supporting strong governance, opposing rampant corruption, and making huge strides in alleviating global poverty and misery. It also means a huge effort by the United States and free nations to communicate our message of peace, tolerance, and freedom to the rest of the world, not with propaganda, but with a concerted grassroots diplomatic corps well equipped to relay our goodwill to the world.

If we support these policies, we can defeat terrorism in the 21st century, and we can assure the American people that the GOP will not make us safer, only Democrats can.


This weekend, progressive bloggers of all stripes have gathered in Las Vegas (Sin City) to organize, network, and participate in what will be the first of many annual gatherings for the emerging progressive blogosphere that has assumed immense power and influence in a few short years.

What we are witnessing today is the birth of a new political era, one powered by people, not politicians. We are seeing the rise of ordinary Americans who, because of the power of technology, have the means to channel their energy, their passion, their talent, and their intellect into taking back our country from the money-dominated, special-interest-kow-towing, corporate-loving, hate-mongering, demaguoging, Republican elitists that are destroying our Constitution, bringing shame to our flag, dimming the beacon of hope that we once shined on the world, and crippling the American Dream for all Americans who have bet their life's work on achieving it.

People-power, the netroots, and the new political era is bringing power back to Abilene, KS, Franklin, IN, Miami, FL, Bangor, ME, Pasadena, CA, Paramus, NJ, Cedar Rapids, IA, and Big Sandy, MT. The elites in Washington who so disdain the netroots for their amateur, naive, and idealistic view of politics that they think will lead to the downfall of the Democratic party (although the elites haven't exactly done a good job of electing Democrats these last few decades) are waking up and realizing that the netroots "have arrived," as Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the founder of the political blog, DailyKos, said this weekend.

Harry Reid, Mark Warner, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Tom Vilsack, and even Democratic operatives like Jennifer Palmieri were there at YearlyKos to lend their voice (and seek some support) from the powerful netroots.

It was the netroots, their ability to raise money, their power to recruit candidates, their capacity for revealing the truth, their influence in undermining the conventional wisdom of the mainstream media, and their tenacity in debating ideas and devising practical solutions, policies, strategies, and tactics that led Paul Hackett to nearly become a congressman, when the elites had written him off. It was the netroots, who can, in twenty-four hours, debunk the President's lies about Social Security and reveal the Republicans' sinister plan to privatize FDR's legacy, that propelled Howard Dean to the chairmanship of the DNC, without opposition, even though the elites in Washington were adamantly opposed to it. It was the netroots, who will never stop believe in the impossible, that forced the NRCC to spend $5 million, that's right, $5 million, to defend a congressional seat that was won a year and a half ago by 22 points, where Francine Busby still almost won (by the way, Francine is still running for Congress in the regular election in November, where she could still win, so help her out if you're from the San Diego area).

Some people doubt the power of the netroots. But they are not looking at the facts. DailyKos, the largest political blog, now gets millions upon millions of unique visitors each month, and its growing monthly by 5%. The progressive political blogosphere now has a bigger audience monthly than FOX News, the largest and most popular cable news network (and a propaganda piece for the far right). The netroots were born in 2002, barely even noticed by the world, and exponentially grew in the last couple of years. Their influence is growing. Jon Tester, a grassroots, progressive Democrat from Montana, who is unapologetically supportive of progressive values, just won in a blowout of 25 points in his Democratic primary against a DLC (Democratic Leadership Council, or as I like to call it, the Dunces, Losers, and Creeps) hack who outspent him two to one and was favored by everyone in the political establishment.

Joe Lieberman, who unfortunately has decided that being Sean Hannity's favorite Democrat is more important than standing up for his party when everyone else is attacking it, is going to lose in his primary for renomination to the US Senate. Ned Lamont, a fantastic progressive businessman, has closed the gap in the polls between Lieberman and him by 31 points in a month and is now only 15 points behind a three-term incumbent.

Technology is changing. Ten years ago, no one knew what texting meant, no one had ever seen a BlackBerry, no one imagined watching television and movies on their computer, no one thought radio, newspapers, and magazines would predominantly be read online, and no one understood that politics would take on an Internet personality. In the next few years, and the next couple of election cycles, politics will nearly be done entirely online. Money will be raised at online fundraisers, town hall meetings will occur by video over the internet, voting will be done from the comfort of your desk, campaign organizations will be decentralized, volunteers from Iowa will help a state Senate candidate in Georgia get elected, news will be broken online, people will read political books off Amazon.com, and Americans from every nook and cranny in our country will be able to share ideas, debate policies, and consult individual campaigns, not as professional consultants, but as concerned citizens helping to make everyone engagedin our democracy.

The fact that I can sit here in my dorm room and communicate with all of you and explain my thinking about these issues is a testament to the power of democracy-driven technology and technology-driven democracy. College Dems will be updating our web site this fall and will make it much easier to get involved as members without having to be a full time committed leader. The power that we can have to effect change and make a difference is unlimited. We have the blogosphere to thank for that.


Okay. Adam brought his 20th century political hero into the mix, so I’m going to introduce mine. Harry Truman once said, “It’s plain hokum. If you can’t convince them, confuse them. It’s an old political trick. But this time it won’t work.”

Nice try, Adam.

In his last post (a response to my response to his original post—nice to see they’re working us interns real hard over here at All America PAC), Adam basically made it seem as though us libertarian types hate helping people. It was an admirable effort at confusing the issue, to be sure, but I’m not going to let that one slide, so I’m going to respond briefly before, y’know, actually doing my real job.

I think that any time you give a government a task that could be completed by someone or something else, you need to justify it. Thus far, big government liberals have utterly failed to convince me as to why the federal government should be performing tasks like providing drug counseling or deciding one single nationwide criteria for what constitutes a “successful education.” I believe that these are tasks that are performed much more effectively on a local level, and so far, liberals, Adam included, have yet to make an effective argument as to why these are tasks that can only be performed by the federal government.

I think that helping those that are less fortunate is important. In fact, I believe that each and every person on this planet has an obligation to help their fellow human beings.

I just don’t think the government should be telling them how to do that.

I think that most people have an innate sense of right and wrong. And I think that given the opportunity, the vast majority of Americans will rise to the opportunity to help those in need.

But it is quite simply not a government’s job to do that. That is not what a government is. A government doesn’t exist to enforce moral behavior; it exists solely to keep order and provide services that can only be achieved through collective action, like trash collection.

Our founding fathers never intended for government to become the giant machine that it is today. That is why they initially wrote a ban on income taxes into the Constitution. This is a rule that is of course long gone, but the issue still stands. Hobbes argued that government was an issue not of moral good, but of self-interest—that is, citizens cede certain rights to the governments in exchange for physical protection. Nowhere in that argument does helping the less fortunate come into play. It is simply not the domain of government. The social contract between a citizen and his government is not one of morality, it is one of pragmatism. Government does not exist to serve as an equalizer; not all people are necessarily equally deserving of reward in their lives. It’s why communism failed; governments have no place controlling the distribution of income amongst their citizens. In my view, if you earn your money, you should get to keep as much of it as humanly possible, taxing only what is necessary to keep anarchy at bay. Taxes should only be imposed as an absolute last resort, and laws passed only when a problem of order, security, or equality cannot be solved any other way.


I am a big fan of Bobby Kennedy. He is my favorite leader in American history and I wish he had lived to become President. Senator Kennedy once said, regarding the struggle to give equality to everyone in our nation, that "We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do." Rachel talks about how government is sometimes good because helping us can help ourselves. But there are moral imperatives, things that are instinctively right and just regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality. Everyone deserves basic dignity, basic equality, and basic freedom. Everyone deserves enough food to eat, a warm place to sleep in the cold, a decent doctor to treat you when you're sick, a good teacher to give you the skills to succeed, and a good job to fill you with pride and dignity for earning your success.

I understand Rachel's assessment in the last post that government is not always the best solution to every problem. I respect Rachel's opinion and respectfully disagree; nonetheless, I believe Rachel is a good Democrat and I hope she stays in our great party of the people. But it is telling that Rachel condemns government by using Republican myths such as the myth that all government programs don't work, are wasteful, overstay their welcome, and punish good people by intervening in their lives and draining away their freedom.

I believe in a government that empowers. I do not like higher taxes for the sake of higher taxes. I sometimes support fairer taxation because there are certain needs that only government can perform best, and I think deficits hurt our economy.

I do not support big government for the sake of big government. I support government that relieves suffering, not just because it helps you and me if there are less people in poverty, without health insurance, and without a good education, although that is true. I support it because it is right. Because I cannot live with myself knowing that there are people who are suffering in the world and I think every American, yes, even you Rachel, agrees with me.

I support taxing people as little as is necessary. I support a government as small as it needs to be. I don't want burdensome regulation more than is justified. But we must take care of basic needs.

Liberals do not need to be attacked for being against freedom. I love freedom, I love my country, and I love that we have a free market that allows everyone the chance to succeed and achieve the American Dream. But economic and social justice is not about freedom and authority, power and liberty. It is about who we are as a nation, about who we want to be. Do we want to settle for a country that provides a strict and narrow definition of freedom that benefits a small few, and does nothing to make us the envy of the world and of history? Or do we wish to strive for a time when poverty is obsolete, when happiness is universal, when government is less and less necessary? We can create a better America, not just because it will make us all better off, although it will, but because it is right.


I would like to build off my reply to Adam’s post about the principles of liberalism by saying the one thing I never thought I’d say: take a look at Tom DeLay’s retirement speech from the House floor yesterday.

For those of you who can’t bear the thought of any more DeLay than is absolutely necessary, I’ll excerpt it here.

“Liberalism, after all, whatever you may think of its merits, is a political philosophy and a proud one with a great tradition in this country, with a voracious appetite for growth.

In any place or any time on any issue, what does liberalism ever seek, Mr. Speaker? More—more government, more taxation, more control over people's lives and decisions and wallets. If conservatives don't stand up to liberalism, no one will. And for a long time around here, almost no one did.”

DeLay shows us the problem with the blue-red divide within America. It is characterizations like these.

Indeed, I believe the Hammer to have, pardon the pun, nailed the problem right on its head. Too often, Democrats come across as tax-happy spendthrifts who claim to know exactly what’s good for you, whether or like it or not. While this philosophy is obviously an exaggeration, it has its basis in some ugly facts.

Democrats seem to be quite fond of taking your money and sending it halfway around the world. I agree that we should be spending more on foreign aid—because, after all, we live in a global world where civil strife thousands of miles away will inevitably affect our peace at home—but I understand the plight of many Americans confused as to why Democrats want to send their money to Africa when there are people starving and unemployed here at home. And foreign aid is only one example of a correct policy that is often the victim of Republican mudslinging.

Democrats need to take control of the debate, and for this problem, I offer a three-pronged approach:

1) Spend wisely. Let’s take a look at the way we spend the taxpayers’ money. Citizens Against Government Waste estimates that approximately 29 billion dollars were spent on pork barrel projects in 2006 alone. This is an issue that stretches across party lines, but an issue Democrats can use to their advantage. Democrats should step up to the plate and take the lead on cutting spending. If Democratic senators and representatives can look past the short-term personal interests served by wasteful pork barrel spending, we can make the Republicans look pretty wasteful. We cannot allow the GOP to have a monopoly on fiscal responsibility. Democratic support for social welfare programs needs to be reexamined. I am not advocating we withdraw our admirable support for those who have fallen on hard times and need a safety net, but we need to make it clear that what our party is proposing is not a “get out of work free” pass, but rather just a hand to catch you and get you back to work when you fall on hard times. While this may be what the party already believes, we as a party seem to have trouble articulating our vision. We cannot concede the high ground to Republicans on this issue; we must make it clear that Democrats are for hard work and the American Dream every bit as much as the Republicans. This brings me to my second point, which is…

2) Articulate the vision.With a few exceptions—Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama come to mind—our party seems to be sorely lacking in an effective verbal advocate. Democrats are not all about liberal tax-and-spend policies, but that does not seem to be the impression of at least half of the country. We are the real party of fiscal responsibility, as the booming economy and Clinton surpluses of the 1990s show, but that is frequently overlooked. Too often, Democrats allow the Republicans to control the direction of the debate. It’s embarrassing. Take, for example, the recent leak of the 2006 DCC agenda (think a Democratic version of the Contract with America), which included, among other things, a hike in the federal minimum wage, reinstating pay-as-you-go budget rules, and… “a sixth plank that has not yet been settled upon.” Yes, we’ve got image problems in this country.

And 3) Explain yourselves. Want to send my tax dollars to Africa? That’s great, now explain it. I am a big advocate of increasing the foreign aid budget, and I’ll tell you why. If a civil war erupts in some two-bit banana republic in South America, no matter how unimportant the country is, it affects the entire region. This in turn destabilizes the world economy. Similarly, in today’s technological world, you can travel halfway around the globe in not much more than a day. Diseases know no borders. AIDS probably started when a few dozen African tribesmen ate some infected chimpanzees. A decade later, we had nothing short of a global health crisis on our hands, one that did not discriminate based on nationality or sexual orientation. If a man catches the flu in Indonesia, he could be on a plane and roaming around New York City within the day. We need to prevent epidemics before they happen, and sometimes, that means treating them before they reach our borders. But we need to make that clear to American voters. It’s easy to fall into trap of acting morally superior, but “it’s the right thing to do” just isn’t cutting it. While the moral obligation to help our starving brethren abroad exists, it isn’t an effective argument for increased foreign aid. Self-interest is. The reason we help those in need around the world isn’t out of selfless interests—it’s out of selfish ones. We want to alleviate conflict and disease abroad before it becomes a problem for us at home. That’s all there is to it, but we seem to have trouble making that clear to the voters.

I’m sure y’all are tired of hearing me beat the drum of the DLC, James Carville, and other moderate (and I believe, highly effective) Dem strategists, but you’re about to hear me again: We have got to learn how to defend ourselves. We need to stop worrying about BS issues Americans don’t care about—stop freaking out about big agribusiness farm subsidies, for example—and get our act together.

We must advocate a vision. We need to offer a way to get out of the mess in Iraq, propose a legitimate plan for the national defense and comprehensive immigration reform, and promise to and then actually cut wasteful spending. We can’t just be about negatives—the failed Busby campaign in California showed us that. Francine Busby ran a campaign that was almost entirely negative. She offered little to the voters of the 50th District in the way of political goals, but instead ran a campaign based on little more than the argument that “Republicans are evil, evil, evil.” She almost won on that alone, but almost isn’t good enough. The Republican Party is irreversibly corrupt, but that alone is not an argument on behalf of Democrats.

To take back our rightful control of the House and Senate in ’06, we have to construct and then successfully advocate for a real vision for America.

But let's start tomorrow. Tonight, feel free to crack open that bottle of champagne (I'll buy), let your hair down, and celebrate the fact that Washington will soon be rid of Tom DeLay.


No, I'm not calling for Al Gore to run for President in 2008; though I think he was rightfully elected in 2000, but that's a matter for another time.

I saw Al Gore's new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, last weekend and I was inspired! Al Gore is witty, funny, smart, and prescient. Everyone should go and see the movie.

But what the movie tells us and has informed me is that we must think about long term problems now and address them before it's too late.

Too many of our politicians think in 2, 4, and 6 year terms and don't think in 20, 50, and 100 year terms, as they should. Climate change is real, and if we don't address it now, we'll pay for it very seriously in fifty years.

Republicans should be with us on this issue. This is pure science. Last year, a random sample of 928 peer-reviewed studies on climate change reported a unanimity that the planet is warming, and carbon emissions from human activity is the primary cause. A vast majority of scientists also believe the effects are accelerating and we have a ten year minimum at most before the effects of global warming become nearly irreversible.

Al Gore has a website, climatecrisis.net, that provides information on climate change and ways we can personally, at the individual level, and socially, at the national and global level to reverse the effects of global warming. Let's begin to save our planet, and our lives, and the human race, by demanding that all Democratic presidential candidates in 2008 commit to reducing carbon emissions around the world and help them get elected President in 2008. We can do it!


I've given a lot of thought recently to the idea of what progressivism is. What makes me a progressive? Why do we liberals believe what we believe on every issue? What unites us on the issues? While I have no slam dunk answer, I have come to believe that my liberal values stem from a sense of responsibility, deeply engrained into my moral fiber, that commands me to serve others, as an obligatory responsibility. Further, I have come to realize that there are five forms of responsibility that inform my political beliefs and I will take the time now to explain them.

1) Individual Responsibility - Liberals believe that individuals must take responsibility for their personal actions, and therefore, government must protect their liberties and choices so that individuals will take responsibility for their actions. This means that government cannot regulate our sex lives, our reproductive decisions, or the ways in which we pursue our happiness.

2) Mutual Responsibility - Liberals believe that we have a responsibility to each other on the individual level. If my neighbor is sick, I have a duty to take care of him. If my friend's son is failing school, I have an obligation to lend some time to help him succeed. And if a total stranger in a foreign land is oppressed and desperately poor, I have a responsibility to send them money to help them live and to support my government's penalizing their tyrants to further the cause of liberty.

3) Social Responsibility - Liberals believe that we have a responsibility to society at large. When 46 million lack any health insurance and hundreds of millions more lack adequate health care, we must sacrifice some of our earnings in taxation so that society is healthy. If one third of young black men are in jail instead of college, we have a responsibility to promote educational opportunity, whether through affirmative action, universal preschool, college tuition assistance, improving teacher quality, and increasing tutoring funds.

4) Civic Responsibility - Liberals believe we have a responsibility to our country. We are deeply patriotic; we love our Constitution and will do anything to preserve, protect, and defend it against government abuses, infringement on liberties, and efforts to undermine the rule of law and the separation of powers. We also believe we have a responsibility to serve our country, whether it is in the form of community service, military service, or public service. We accept JFK's call to ask what we can do for our country and we want our leaders to mobilize us for a cause bigger than ourselves.

5) Global Responsibility - Liberals believe in the exceptional nature of our country, so much so that we are disappointed when we see our country ruined by Republican stupidity. Because we are exceptional, and the United States is uniquely powerful, we have an enormous responsibility to lead the world, spread liberty and freedom (but not with military force), alleviate poverty, protect the Earth from degradation, fight disease, prevent genocide, and unite the global community toward peace and prosperity.

I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, so please comment. But I think, for me at least, this formulation best represents how my liberalism came to be.


Dear George,

Well, you did it again. You went back on TV and told me about how important it was that you and your cronies work to change my Constitution to protect marriage. In your first speech about the Defense of Marriage, not only did state that marriage is the "most fundamental institution of civilization" (yeah, Britney Spears ruins the fundamentality of every institution...). But the most important thing you said in your speech was that the government should listen to the people on an issue as important as this one.

George, this Amerian wants to be heard (along with at least 47% of the population, including your wife and VP). How dare you try to change my Constitution into a vehicle for hate and inequality. How dare you try to use your religious agenda to gain more votes and call yourself compassionate! Compassion is about trying to understand others and you have tried only to understand Christian conservatives.

I think you should try being compassionate about AIDS. You may have forgotten (what with the war and oil problems), but the world is facing an epidemic. I think instead of protecting Americans from gay people, we should protect Americans (and all people) from AIDS. Today marks the day that people were first introduced a strange pneumonia 25 years ago. This 'pneumonia' later became known as AIDS, a disease that has destroyed the lives of countless millions (we may have forgotten about Poland, but you, my friend, have forgotten about Africa).

The only protection I want to hear you talk about today is the condom (which is one of the best sources of protection against HIV, besides your favorite, abstinence). Besides, you should be worrying about the protection of your precious Republican house. Let the states worry about protecting their people from gay marriage!

Here's to hope for a cure. Let's be the generation that ends AIDS.


For a long time, I doubted that we could win back the House and while publicly I touted my belief that Democrats would win a majority this year in the House of Representatives even though secretly I thought we would fall just short. But I have realized now that not only will we take over the House, I truly believe that we will win in a landslide and pick up more than 30 seats. This might seem like quite the optimistic prediction. But what I have realized over the last few weeks is that we have some amazing candidates running for the House of Representatives, and the Republicans are asleep at the wheel. First of all, Democrats have now broken the record for most contested congressional election. So far, there are 424 districts where Democrats are running for Congress and we have a chance to fill seven more to reach 431 contested districts. In recent years, we have not run more than 400 Democrats and in 1994, Republicans set the record for most districts contested by running candidates in 419 districts. Now some say this is a waste of time because most of these people in hard red districts won't get more than 25% of the vote against their extremely entrenched Republican foes. However, what this does is it forces Republican incumbents to stay at home and campaign and spend money in their home district as opposed to spreading their money and time around the country to help their fellow Republicans. As well, in a year that is favorable to Democrats, the more candidates we have running, the greater the chance that we will win more upsets in a number of conservative Republicans districts, beefing up our majority.

Just look up some of our great challengers like Larry King, Eric Massa, Herb Paine, Paul Aronsohn, John Courage, and Colleen Rowley. The GOP will probably keep control of the Senate, but by a reduced margin. But we will win back the House, mark my words.


I have to admit, on occasion I watch the weekend morning Fox News roundtables. I mock, and I cringe, but I do it. It's like a car crash, sometimes you just can't look away.

So as I often do, I was half watching this morning while doing some other things, and I was appalled (as I often am) at the discussion I was hearing. The topic for the morning was the recent allegations that American troops are regularly, and needlessly killing Iraqi civilians.

The talking heads weren't discussing the fact that soldiers who kill civilians in war zone are committing crimes. In fact, they weren't framing their discussion about the crimes themselves at all. Instead, the conversation revolved around the international market and how these rumors will effect the United States' economic position at home and abroad. The general consensus was affirmative: yes, if stories about these alleged and rumored crimes continued, our economic health could be impacted in a negative fashion.

Now, I had a problem with what they were saying. It seemed to me that in the face of this shocking news cycle, their priorities were a bit misplaced, but at the same time, I didn't really expect much more from the channel of Fair and Balanced News.

What really shocked me, was the gentleman who interrupted the discussion of economics and international relations to rant about how the crimes of our enemies justify any actions on the parts of our soldiers.

"You have to remember, people, that we're fighting people who think killing babies will get them into heaven," he began.

Now, I'm not even going to comment on how badly the gentleman needed to educate himself about Islam, and the many men and women of faith who live in Iraq. Nor am I going to take time to clearly distinguish between our military enemies (the people we're fighting) and the civilians (they people we're being accused of murdering). If you're reading this, I'm sure you have a better grasp on those concepts than he did.

Instead, I'm just going to offer a reminder that we should all keep in mind as this debate goes forward. The attitude I heard on Fox this morning-- that whatever we do is okay because of what they do-- is the same opinion espoused by those we are fighting. They justify their actions by looking at what we do.


Another Bush administration invasion of privacy that speaks for itself: the New York Times reports today that the Justice Department is apparently asking internet executives and the companies they represent to save data on which users visit certain sites, and who users send e-mail to. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I want Gonzales & Co. to know all about my embarassing obsession with buying vintage Beanie Babies online...

Can someone do us all a favor and please send these guys a copy of the U.S. Constitution, with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Amendments circled in big red ink? I'm sure the nice folks over at NSA have a copy lying around somewhere that they're not using...